After lunch and pedicures with Jasmin, we headed over to the memorial for one of my former classmates and friends. I knew some of the people that would be attending and wanted to see them. I also had fond memories of Brian.
We went to middle and high school together. We shared latin and one year of being band nerds. I moved on after our trip to Orlando and focused on school, work and finding a way out of Salina. He continued with band and a different path than mine. We both ended up in Lawrence for college. He was one of my best friend's roommates in an off campus apartment. Like me, we wanted to live off campus instead of in a dorm or sorority. After that first year, we drifted apart. I was always consumed by work and creating my departure from Kansas. He had friends, other interests and ultimately, a different path. We lost touch and eventually found our commonality on social media. I could stalk his photos and see what he was interested in in a very public way. Returning for his memorial it was nice to look through his childhood photos. I am a sucker for family photos. So much innocence and camaraderie. Of course, there were senior photos and photos of his life. I arrived later than anticipated and interrupted part of the speeches. It was nice to listen but I wasn't interested in contributing to the stories in a public forum. That is not really my thing. I remember when my Brian died and letting his friend/boss speak. Marc was charismatic and had the best stories of Brian. He was compassionate and illustrated some of Brian's essence. Afterwards, they opened it up to anyone else that wanted to say something. Quickly, it declined into weirdness and randomness. This one lady spoke of how kind Brian was for always returning her lighter. It seemed odd and pointless and we cut people off and concluded the speaking portion. I didn't speak that day. I don't think I would have done it any differently either.
After people were finished speaking, we broke up into small groups, naturally, and caught up. That was interesting. One guy immediately approached me and wanted to know what I had been doing for the past 10 years. I responded that I bartend. He goes--really? You were the smartest person in our class, I thought you would be doing something else.
I didn't really know how to respond. When I was younger, I thought I would be a lawyer. I have a great life and it is unconventional. It's not traditional or what is considered success in some people's minds. Initially, I was pissed that I would be judged in such a manner. But, then I forgave him as he has not changed. He has always had turrets. Speaking first thinking later. I have a few other examples from last Saturday that would support this belief.
Another guy I ran into I have known since kindergarten. It was great to see him and see where life has taken him. He was a quiet introverted guy all through school. He has blossomed into a rambunctious lover of life. He is a pilot and travels the world. It was wonderful talking to him. I wish I had had more time to catch up with him.
I am glad that I made the effort to return to Kansas. Next time might be longer or for happier circumstances. I know that I will see Jennifer in the next few months. She is one of my childhood friends that I do see on a fairly regular basis. I am grateful for that.
I am off to dog sit, attend a barre class and greet the day! Until next time---cheers!